I Never Met a Chocolate I Didn’t Like

July 7th was International Chocolate Day. Now that’s a holiday I can relate to. In honour of the day, this week’s post is about chocolate.

Whenever someone says chocolate, a voice inside me says:

“I never met a chocolate I didn’t like.”.


Though I admit I draw the line at chocolate hot cross buns and croissants.

Some of you will recognise the quote by Deanna Troi of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the same episode, The Game (1991), she said “Chocolate is a serious thing.”  Deanna  knew the score.

Chocoalte cake is a favourite of Police Surgeon and detectiving cohort , Henry Collins, from my series The Adventures of Viola Stewart. I prefer dark chocolate (preferably at least 85% and Fair Trade).

And perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing. And to prove it, here’s some sciencey stuff.

chocolate_copyrightKarenCarlisle

The Science of Chocolate

Even science admits chocolate has health benefits. Though you need to consume dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. It’s the cocoa that’s good for you, not the sugar. Cocoa has been linked to:

  • improved mood (causes release of serotonin and endorphins – the feelgood hormones),
  • boosts cognitive performance (so do red wine and tea)
  • lowering blood pressure (due to flavanols),
  • preventing liver disease (due to improved blood flow),
  • boosting good cholesterol (due to polyphenols found in dark chocolate),
  • maintaining healthy vascular tone (lowering BP, opening vessels and antioxidants that reduce inflammation)
  • even improves the skin!

Bitter is better – containing more of the beneficial chemicals and less sugar (which is not beneficial).

I’m still searching for a Ktarian chocolate puff, Deanna’s favourite:

“I don’t know exactly what’s inside, but I think it’s made with seventeen varieties of chocolate.”
–  Deanna Troi., Star Trek: The Next Generation: Liaisons (1993)

Bibliography – The Researchy Stuff:

  1. 10 reasons why chocolate is good for you
    http://www.sciencefocus.com/feature/health/10-reasons-why-chocolate-good-you
  2. Acute dark chocolate and cocoa ingestion and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/1/58.abstract
  3. Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates http://www.biostat.jhsph.edu/courses/bio621/misc/Chocolate%20consumption%20cognitive%20function%20and%20nobel%20laurates%20(NEJM).pdf
  4. Cocoa, chocolate and cardiovascular Disease.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797556/

  5. Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study—a randomized controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4340060/

  6. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa May Reduce Blood Pressure
    http://www.australasianscience.com.au/article/issue-october-2012/dark-chocolate-and-cocoa-may-reduce-blood-pressure.html
  7. Dark chocolate consumption increases HDL cholesterol concentration and chocolate fatty acids may inhibit lipid peroxidation in healthy  Humans.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15454274
  8. Effect of cocoa on blood pressure. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22895979
  9. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702322
  10. Postprandial effects of dark chocolate on portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis: results of a phase 2, double-blind, randomized controlled trial.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22811444
  11. Potential benefit of dark chocolate for liver disease patients
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100415114323.htm

  12. Regular consumption of dark chocolate is associated with low serum concentrations of C-reactive protein in a healthy Italian population.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18806104
  13. The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575938/

  14. Why Is Dark Chocolate Good for You? Thank Your Microbes
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-dark-chocolate-good-for-you-thank-your-microbes/

Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle.
All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

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I Never Met a Chocolate I Didn’t Like was originally published on karen j carlisle

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About karen j carlisle

writer artist gardener chocoholic tea lover
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